Carruth retiring; Southwick to lead Cooperating School Districts of Greater Kansas City

Gayden Carruth, left, is retiring this summer, and will be succeeded by Kenny Southwick

Gayden Carruth, left, is retiring this summer, and will be succeeded by Kenny Southwick

Shawnee Mission School District Deputy Superintendent Kenny Southwick will be the next leader of the Cooperating School Districts of Greater Kansas City.

Southwick, former Belton schools superintendent, will take over for Gayden Curruth who announced she is retiring Aug. 31 after serving as the CSDGKC executive director for 11 years.

Southwick will take charge of an organization of 32 Missouri school districts that has worked together on legislative issues, professional development, research and communication since 1976.

Carruth has worked in education for 47 years as a teacher, principal and administrator in Mississippi, Virginia and Missouri. She was the Park Hill School District superintendent from 1994 to 2005 and was named the 1998 Superintendent of the Year by the Missouri Association of School Administrators.

“What I feel blessed about,” Carruth said in a written statement, “is that in every position I’ve held, I left that organization better than it was when I arrived.”

The CSDGKC finds itself in an enviable position as it makes it leadership transition, said Lee’s Summit School District Superintendent Dennis Carpenter, president of the CSDGKC board.

“Cooperating School Districts is grateful to Dr. Carruth for the visionary leadership she has provided for our school districts and the educational community,” he said in a written statement. “We also feel fortunate to be able to make the transition from one outstanding leader to another as Dr. Southwick steps into the executive director role later this year.”

Southwick has worked with Shawnee Mission since 2014 as both deputy and interim superintendent. In his career he has served as a teacher, counselor, coach and administrator in Maryville, Excelsior Springs and Belton where he finished as superintendent.

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